by Guy Belleranti -
Oliver had the perfect back yard.
New grass to run on. New grass to jump on. New grass to roll on.
He also had the perfect friend to play with on the new grass.
Mom, Dad, and Oliver had met Diggy right after lunch. He was a rescued dog who needed a good home. The minute Oliver saw Diggy staring at him through the wire mesh fencing, white ear up, brown ear down, he knew they were meant to be together.
"He's the one!" Oliver had cried, pointing. Diggy had bounced up and down and wagged his tiny tail wildly as the worker brought him out on a leash.
"He is cute," Mom had agreed, as Diggy planted several wet kisses on her face.
"Okay," Dad had said. “But, Oliver, don’t forget you promised to help Mom take care of whatever dog we chose.”
“Oh, I won’t,” Oliver said, hugging the dog he thought he’d never own. “I’ll love him, play with him, feed him, give him baths and even help Mom brush him. He can sleep in my bed, too.”
“No,” Dad said, shaking his head. “He will not sleep in any beds or sit on any furniture. He’ll sleep in that big wicker basket Mom bought at the yard sale. Dogs aren’t people, they’re animals.”
And so now here Oliver and Diggy were in the perfect grassy back yard Dad had worked so hard on.
Oliver ran on the grass. So did Diggy.
Oliver jumped on the grass. So did Diggy.
Oliver rolled on the grass. So did Diggy. Then, Diggy ran and jumped on Oliver, covering his face with doggy love.
Oliver giggled and stood up. "I'm hot. Are you hot, Diggy?"
Diggy stuck his two different-colored ears straight in the air and panted.
"I thought so," Oliver said. "I'll be right back with water for both of us."
But when Oliver got back, Diggy was stretched out in a big dirty hole in the center of the once perfect grass, panting.
"Oh, no!" Oliver cried. "Diggy, what have you done?"
Diggy jumped out of the hole and into Oliver’s arms, smearing kisses on his face and dirt on his clothes.
“Oh, I can’t be mad at you.” Oliver hugged Diggy close. “I’ll fill in the hole before Mom and Dad see it.”
So that’s what Oliver did.
But the hole still showed.
And later…Mom and Dad did see it.
“That’s an energetic dog for you,” Mom told Dad with a sigh. “At least Oliver filled the hole in nicely.”
Dad didn’t reply, but Oliver knew by his frown he wasn’t happy.
“Diggy,” said Oliver later, after Mom and Dad had tucked him in bed, “if you must dig please do it where there’s no grass. I’ll show you a good place in the morning.” He lifted Diggy off his bed where Diggy had just jumped and placed him on the pillow in the basket on the floor.
But when Oliver climbed back into bed, Diggy bounded up beside him.
“Oh, Diggy,” Oliver said. “I’m sorry, but you can’t sleep up here.”